Advertisement

California plant/tree life field guide?

topic posted Wed, February 13, 2008 - 11:13 AM by  Mud
Share/Save/Bookmark
I'm in the market for a handy dandy field guide I can tote around with me while hiking the back roads. Something that doesn't weigh more than I do but still has the nifty pictures that make identifying all the great plant/tree life in our beautiful forests easy. Does anyone have recommendations? I'd lug a hardback around with me if I had to so if you know of an awesome book that might be on the heavy side I'd still like to hear about it. Thanks for reading!
posted by:
Mud
offline Mud
SF Bay Area
Advertisement
  • Ed
    Ed
    offline 1

    Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

    Fri, February 15, 2008 - 12:32 AM
    I am a field biologist, and I carry Peterson's guide to western trees. It's easy to use and covers most of the trees and showy shrubs you will see in CA. There are several better regional guides, more or less useful for the non-science types, but they are restricted in their geograpic coverage. If you are interested in wildflowers, you have to pick a regional guide because CA has far too many species for a general western guide to be useful. There are some great Bay Area regional flora guides, if that's the region you are most interested in.
    • Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

      Fri, February 15, 2008 - 6:21 AM
      Ed, can you offer some suggestions for the regional wildflower guides? I'm interested in that, as well. Oh, and thanks for the suggestion on Peterson's.
      • Ed
        Ed
        offline 1

        Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

        Fri, February 15, 2008 - 8:28 AM
        Check out the Falcon series. They are good for the more common flowers you can expect to see. There's a Pacific Northwest wildflowers guide. They also have guides to wildflowers of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and Great Basin - and I think they have one for the Sierras. They are good books with excellent color photos, easy to use.

        There's also a Timber Press guide to PNW wildflowers, but I haven't used it so don't know how thorough it is.

        The Peterson series also has a good one for Pacific States wildflowers that is useful into Southern California and Sierras, but not for the deserts. It's a little more challenging to use, but that's because it contains more species. Most species are only shown as B&W drawings.

        The diversity of the Pacific coast is so high that no one book can cover everything (even for professional botanists, although Munz Flora and Jepson Flora come close for California).
  • Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

    Fri, February 15, 2008 - 2:24 PM
    I LOVE the "Nature Study Guides"
    They are small and fun to use, though it takes a little practice
    www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_s...830-6829723
    You can easily fit four or five in you bag without cramping a sandwich.
    Check out how it works (scroll down on this google preview):
    books.google.com/books
    LOL you know what? I have at least four of the Pacific Coast Tree Finder books, so I'll totally give you one. I'll give you the cute one that a student wrote "please don't harm Mr. Miller's books" on the flap. Aww.
    ;)
    • Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

      Fri, February 15, 2008 - 2:25 PM
      Sorry. In the google link, you have to go to page six to see how it works. But isn't that cool?
      • Mud
        Mud
        offline 6

        Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

        Fri, February 15, 2008 - 3:50 PM
        Wow! The Nature Study guide reminds me of choose your own adventure books! Tree style! That looks neat.

        Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'll definitely check out all the books. The Timber Press one sounds great as I'm looking for something meant for a novice with lots of pictures. I was hoping for a one stop shop for the general flora of Northern California but I guess we've just got too darned many plants and trees out this way. Not a terrible problem to have I suppose. Thanks again!
        • Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

          Sun, February 17, 2008 - 11:40 AM
          I have to echo Mud's thoughts. Thank you so much for all the great book suggestions.

          (Amazon here I come.)
          • Mud
            Mud
            offline 6

            Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

            Fri, February 22, 2008 - 10:54 AM
            I just wanted to follow up. I picked up two Falcon guides ("The Easy Tree Guide: Common Native and Cultivated Trees of the United States and Canada" & "Pacific Northwest Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Western Idaho, Southeast Alaska, and British Columbia") on Ed's recommendation. Both are great references for me as I don't know much about plant life and the large photos helped me quickly identify several plants I had seen along the trail.

            I like the wildflower guide a bit more but that may just be the nature of the subject. It includes interesting facts about the actual flower that I found entertaining. In any case, thanks very much for your suggestions Ed! And Timmy, I'd love to steal one of your choose your own adventure (tree) books! ;)
            • Ed
              Ed
              offline 1

              Re: California plant/tree life field guide?

              Sun, February 24, 2008 - 10:51 AM
              Cool - glad you like them. I neglected to mention the California Natural History series. They have a trees guide (California, of course) that I've looked at but do not own (I do need to get it!). I have the mammals guide, which I find useful for anything larger than a house mouse. I also have the San Diego Area Reptiles and Amphibians (don't get to use that one so much any more). I think they have a Bay Area butterflies guide. It's an excellent series.

Recent topics in "Bay Area Hiking!"

Topic Author Replies Last Post
Having fun in night club,do u like? Unsubscribed 0 August 19, 2014
#1 Sugar daddy dating site uni0054 0 July 21, 2014
Younger Women Older Men Dating Site Unsubscribed 0 April 29, 2014
Caves near Morgan Hill/Gilroy Steve 3 May 10, 2012